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Nirvana

Biography

The phenomenal success of Foo Fighters demonstrates that Nirvana were a talented trio, and not just a rickety pair of training wheels for Kurt Cobain's wild ride into fame and annihilation. Obscured behind a smokescreen of publicity and deadened by the effects of endless radio play, Nirvana's music nonetheless holds its own as some of the very best of the 1990s. Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Cobain managed to direct molten flows of white noise into melodic channels navigable by mainstream listeners. Cobain's lyrics, meanwhile, were imbued with the Pentecostal passion of someone speaking in tongues. Traveling in rapid pendulum swings from mania to catatonia, his singing conveyed the pain of a soul mortgaged deep in addiction and depression. He was a man trying desperately to make sense, through song, of the world around him -- something not often heard in Top-40 music. It's unfortunate that the nihilistic elements of Cobain's life and art were so widely and readily embraced by a Pied Piper-following cadre of Kurtophiles bent on viewing self-destruction as ennobling. Nirvana never aspired to be the anti-heroic role models that certain hopeless souls among us needed them to be. To make music that mattered is all they ever wanted, and they took genuine risks to achieve that goal. In the process, they inadvertently altered the geography of modern culture by popularizing (for better or worse) so-called "alternative" music.
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